Kobach says he discussed his Senate bid with Trump

Getty Images

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he discussed his GOP Senate bid with President Trump during a visit to the White House in January.

Kobach told The Wall Street Journal in an interview on Friday that he did not ask Trump to endorse him but that the president has not ruled out declaring his support for the Senate campaign.

A source familiar with the meeting told The Hill that Trump has met with Kobach and Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), who is also running for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pat Roberts (R).

“As he has done with many primary races, the president has met separately with both candidates vying for the GOP nomination in the Kansas Senate race – Mr. Kobach and Rep. Marshall,” the source said.

The White House did not comment to the Journal about Kobach’s interview.

Kobach, an outspoken hardliner on illegal immigration, launched his Senate bid in July, casting his campaign as an effort to install a strong Trump ally in the Senate.

“There really hasn’t been anyone in the Senate pushing [Trump’s] agenda,” Kobach told his supporters at his launch. “If I am elected, God willing, to the United States Senate, I will be leading the charge for President Trump.” 

Kobach is known to have ties with the president. He had been considered for a Cabinet position before he was tapped to lead a panel investigating allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election, a probe that was shuttered over a lack of evidence.

Despite his connections to those around Trump, Kobach has not been embraced by many establishment GOP groups for his Kansas Senate run, with many worrying that his hardline stances particularly on immigration could put the ruby red seat at risk.

Kobach ran for Kansas governor in 2018 with the president’s support and won a tough primary race before losing to Democrat Laura Kelly in the general election, an outcome some Republicans argued could have been avoided with another GOP nominee.

“Just last year Kris Kobach ran and lost to a Democrat. Now, he wants to do the same and simultaneously put President Trump’s presidency and Senate Majority at risk. We know Kansans won’t let that happen and we look forward to watching the Republican candidate they do choose win next fall,” the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) said in July after Kobach’s Senate campaign launch.

The NRSC and other establishment Republicans had hoped Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former GOP congressman from Kansas, would jump into the race, but he ultimately decided not to run.

Kobach dismissed the NRSC’s concerns to the Journal, pointing to internal data that he said shows he can win “with a significant margin.”

Tags Donald Trump Mike Pompeo Pat Roberts Roger Marshall
See all Hill.TV See all Video